No Rain, No Rose
As Portland-based Americana songwriter John Craigie says, “It is the job of the folksinger to present someone to the audience that is relatable. To dissolve the wall between performer and listener as much as possible. People want to hear your story, that in turn, is their story too. Music is not about making you feel better. It’s about making you feel that you’re not alone.” With the songs on his January 27, 2017 release, No Rain, No Rose, Craigie does just that—brings together talented friends, many staples of Portland’s music scene, beneath the umbrella of his cozy, well-crafted songs.
John Craigie’s life in Portland is the impetus for much of the material on No Rain, No Rose, which has the same easy and down-to-earth feel of the old Victorian home where Craigie gathered to record with his community: Gregory Alan Isakov, The Shook Twins, and Tyler Thompson and Jay Cobb Anderson of Fruition. Even the title of the album, No Rain, No Rose is an ode to Portland. “I took it from an old Buddhist saying ‘No Mud, No Lotus’, which basically means, you need the bad things to make the good things. I changed it to reflect my rainy city of roses,” says Craigie.
The album’s also inspired by the folk torch bearers of the sixties and seventies and attempts to follow in the era’s footsteps. Especially, Craigie strives for the quality of the informal recording style of that era that more closely mirrors his heart as a performer. On No Rain, No Rose, Craigie left the tape rolling in between takes, capturing the banter and jokes between close friends just as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did on their album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. “On that album you have a group bringing a bunch of outside musicians in the studio to help them create a sound that is larger than what they could create on their own. The loose sound on this album is inspired by that record immensely,” says Craigie.
No Rain, No Rose pulls together essential members of Portland’s creative community, like Jay Cobb Anderson and Tyler Thompson from Portland’s rootsy, string-centric band Fruition, as well as Katelyn and Laurie Shook, and mandolinist Niko Daoussis from Shook Twins. Other staples of the Americana music scene, Bevin Foley from Trout Steak Revival, and Gregory Alan Isakov, make an appearance as well. All of these musicians support Craigie’s languid vocals and rattling guitar throughout No Rain, No Rose, quite literally capturing the interdependence among members of Craigie’s tightknit music community.
In a world of polished pop songs and hyper-production, the organic brush of Craigie’s pick against the strings and the unity within Portland’s rich roots music family makes No Rain, No Rose blush with lifelike warmth.